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BRICK TOWNSHIP — Brick junior Tommy Costanza doesn’t take the mat very often for the Green Dragons, but when he does there’s a good chance he’ll do something special.

Costanza countered the first shot of the bout at 145 pounds and caught Toms River South freshman Conor Panzarella with a chin whip, hurling him to his back and pinning him in 11 seconds. It was a crucial win and unexpected bonus points for Brick, ranked No. 5 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, and propelled the Dragons to a 33-29 victory over the No. 7 Indians in a Shore Conference Class A South match on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a good shot, I’ll give him that, but I just chin-whipped him and it was tight,” Costanza said. “I threw him and landed in the right spot, and I kept him there.”

“As soon as he got that pin I feel like the momentum switched over,” said Brick senior Will Scott. “I know it got me motivated. It told us we were back in the match.”

Brick trailed 13-3 at the time after a decision by sophomore Zack Martin, a major decision from freshman Cole Corrigan and an emphatic pin by junior Owen McClave from 120 to 132 pounds. Costanza (4-6) said he was just trying to avoid giving up bonus points, but he once again provided a huge lift by stunning a division opponent. The last time Costanza wrestled in an A South match he pulled off a Peterson Roll to erase a four-point deficit in the final seconds that keyed a criteria win over Jackson Memorial.

“No question, on paper we don’t have that,” said Brick head coach Matt Opacity of Costanza’s pin.

“It was early in the match and my job was to not get pinned and keep it close, but I was able to come up big,” Costanza said.

Scott and fellow senior Kyle Wojtaszek along with freshman Joe Ferigne also delivered pins, while senior Dean Sherry won a battle of state qualifiers at 182 pounds by defeating Indians senior Antrez Clagon, 4-2. It was also a rematch of last season’s Region VI 170-pound championship, won by Sherry, 3-2.

McClave delivered the only fall for Toms River South, which also got major decisions from Corrigan and junior Francesco LoScrudato. Senior Joe Salvato defeated Brick sophomore Dean Helstowski, 3-2 at 195 pounds. Helstowski was a state qualifier last season as a freshman 182-pounder for St. Peter’s Prep. Salvato was fourth in the Region VI Tournament at 160 pounds.

Both teams wrestled short-handed as the Indians were without  junior Ajhaun Johnson and senior James Kearny. Johnson is no longer with the team, according to head coach Ron Laycock, while Kearny did not weigh in because of a violation of school rules. Brick senior Nick Pollara missed the match with a sprained elbow suffered in a bout against Brick Memorial’s Rob Ruggiero last Saturday.

Toms River South (7-3, 3-3) jumped out to a 13-0 lead by winning the first three bouts. Martin outlasted Kyle Marino, 1-0 in double overtime, at 120 pounds to start the match. Scoreless through regulation and sudden victory overtime, Martin rode out Marino in the first tiebreaker period before escaping midway through the second tiebreaker for the win.

At 126 pounds, standout freshman Cole Corrigan improved to 14-0 with a 16-7 major decision over Anthony Costanza. Corrigan scored four takedowns in the first period and added three more in the second, but Costanza put the brakes on in the third to limit further damage.

McClave also remained unbeaten (13-0) with a 47-second pin of Thomas Wright at 132 pounds. Last season’s 113-pound Region VI champ launched Wright to his back for the quick pin that gave the Indians a double-digit lead.

Sophomore Jack McLafferty got Brick on the board with a 4-3 victory over James Olivera at 138 pounds before Costanza’s pin pulled Brick to within 13-9. With Pollara out of the lineup, the Dragons inserted Danny Moreno at 152 pounds. LoScrudato turned him twice with cradles, but Moreno was able to stay off his back long enough to avoid a pin and save bonus points.

Brick (13-2, 4-1) trailed 17-9 after LoScrudato’s major decision at 152, but had the teeth of its lineup ready to take the lead. At 160, Scott pinned Vinnie Merlo in 1:52 before Wojtaszek cradled and pinned Marques Alexander in 1:08 to give Brick a 21-17 lead, its first of the match.

Sherry made sure the Dragons would hold onto the lead for good by edging Clagon, 4-3, at 182 pounds. Clagon had the only takedown of the bout in the second period, but constant pressure by Sherry forced a second stalling call that resulted in a third-period point that snapped a 3-3 tie. Sherry was also awarded a penalty point in the first period after Clagon used a figure-four around the head.

The Indians would win the next two bouts to cut Brick’s lead to one. Salvato’s second-period takedown on the edge of the circle was the difference in a 3-2 victory over Helstowski at 195, and Quentin DeCarlo won by 9-2 decision over Anthony Rusignuolo at 220 pounds to make it 24-23. Senior Ray Fattaruso bumped up to heavyweight to defeat Mike Rutter, 5-4, and give Brick a 27-23 lead with two bouts left. A third-period reversal put Fattaruso ahead, and he held on with Rutter inches from scoring a reversal over the final 20 seconds.

Ferigne clinched the victory when he pinned Joseph Venere-Coyle in 1:15 at 106 pounds, which allowed the Dragons to forfeit to Nick Gallichio at 113 pounds in the final bout.

“Tommy Costanza had a big win for us, and again the rest played out the way we thought it would,” Opacity said. “Our guys did their jobs, and that’s pretty much what it came down to.”

The win will most likely give Brick the No. 3 seed for the Shore Conference Tournament, which will be seeded Sunday morning and begins with first-round matches on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping it will,” Opacity said. “I believe we’ve wrestled pretty tough this year, and we’re going to continue to do that.”


Box Score

No. 5 Brick 33, No. 7 Toms River South 29

120: Zack Martin (TRS) d. Kyle Marino 1-0 TB-2

126: Cole Corrigan (TRS) md. Anthony Costanza 16-7

132: Owen McClave (TRS) p. Thomas Wright 0:47

138: Jack McLafferty (B) d. James Olivera 4-3

145: Tommy Costanza (B) p. Conor Panzarella 0:11

152: Francesco LoScrudato (TRS) md. Danny Moreno 11-0

160: Will Scott (B) p. Vinnie Merlo 1:52

170: Kyle Wojtaszek (B) p. Marques Alexander 1:08

182: Dean Sherry (B) d. Antrez Clagon 4-3

195:  Joe Salvato (TRS) d. Dean Helstowski 3-2

220: Quentin DeCarlo (TRS) d. Anthony Rusignuolo 9-2

Hwt: Ray Fattaruso (B) d. Mike Rutter 5-4

106: Joe Ferigne (B) p. Joseph Venere-Coyle 1:15

113: Nick Gallichio (TRS) by forfeit

Records: at Brick (13-2, 4-1); Toms River South (7-3, 3-3).